Sensory Education: French Perspectives
In everyday life, food learning is mainly implicit, and influences our food preferences. However, explicit sensory education is nowadays a growing phenomenon. It is established that the education of taste is influenced by several environmental factors such as culture, family, school meals, and the individual’s society. The sensory education examined in this paper is the French “Classes du Goût” method for children. This pedagogy seeks to develop food curiosity, refine taste, and enrich food vocabulary. This method is more and more widely used in Europe (France, Finland, The Netherlands, etc.). Its effects are visible in odor and taste identification and food characterization and description. To a lesser extent, sensory education also has a temporary effect of decreasing food neophobia and increasing the liking for complex food variants. Comparing sensory education and the older forms of dietary education shows that the former highlights the pleasure of taste, whereas the latter stresses good practice. On one hand, previous dietary education mainly comprised information without experience; family education, on the other, is based on experience plus parental pressure. Finally, sensory education provides experience, introduced by prior information, without parental pressure. From a practical point of view, these studies suggest the interest of encouraging cooking sessions in order to perpetuate good food behavior.
KeywordsFood Preference Sensory Experience Implicit Learning School Meal Dietary Education
Ensemble Prévenons l’Obésité des Enfants: Preventing Childhood Obesity Together
Programme National Nutrition Santé: French national diet and health program
My warmest thanks to Egon Peter Köster, who guided and supported me throughout my research on sensory education for children.
Warm thanks to Pascal Schlich, Christine Lange, and the Edusens team, who welcomed me in their dynamic team and with whom we set up the EduSens program.
Warm thanks to Dominique Montoux for reading over the text. She has used the Classes du Goût method with her pupils for 20 years, and is now running training in it as part of the Sapere and EPODE programs.
Many thanks to David Bravo, R&D Director for Pancosma, for encouraging me to write this chapter and for his precious corrections.
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